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Star-Bulletin Sports

Friday, June 30, 2000

H A W A I I _ G O L F

Kim shoots for fourth
match-play title today

By Bill Kwon


Only one more young whippersnapper stands in the way of Bev Kim's fourth HSWGA match play championship.

The 54-year-old Kim is enjoying a blast from the past this week at the Oahu Country Club.

She defeated 22-year-old Desiree Ting, 4 and 3, to reach today's 18-hole final against 21-year-old Anna Umemura.

Umemura, who will be a senior at the University of Tennessee this fall, advanced with a 1-up victory over Kathy Cho, Ting's teammate on the University of Hawaii golf team.

"She's playing tough. It should be a good match," Umemura said about Kim as the final will pair former champions.

Umemura won in 1997, while Kim captured the title in 1996 on her 50th birthday after winning in 1971 and '72.

She vaguely recalled her two earlier victories when she was known as Bev Kong. The first one was over Joan Damon, then the "Grand Dame" of Hawaii amateur golf.

Kim can now assume that role with a victory today.

Though spotting Umemura 33 years, Kim won't be giving anything else away.

"Match play is anybody's game," said Kim, who has worked hard on her short game to make up for a loss in distance against younger players. "It's not only long ball. I finally accepted it."

Experience and patience also paid off for Kim, who wasn't rattled when Ting went 4-up after four holes.

Kim finally pulled even with a par at the par-3 11th, then won the 12th with a par and the par-5 13th with a birdie, sinking a curling 8-foot sidehill putt.

She surprised Ting, a UH senior, by conceding a 30-foot par for a halve at 14. But Ting bogeyed the 15th to go 3-down and was closed out at the par-3 16th with halving pars.

Umemura and Cho, who will transfer to the University of Oregon this fall, waged a torrid duel.

Umemura was 2-down after five, but she won the par-5 sixth and remained 1-down for the next six holes before winning the 13th when Cho three-putted.

A 15-foot birdie putt at the par-5 15th gave Umemura her first lead since the second hole.

A clutch 12-foot bogey putt at 17 allowed Umemura to maintain the slim lead. "I knew I had to make that putt," she said.

She then safely two-putted from 12 feet for par at 18 for the halve and victory.

Umemura's aware how tough a competitor Kim will be today. "That's golf. You can play at all ages and play good," she said.

Kim is Exhibit A.

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